George’s own personal 9/11
You would think that, with the Presidential race shaping up and heightened attention being paid, the White House would be trying to (mixed metaphor ahead) soothe the waters and pave the way for a return engagement. But with the Kay report last week and a wholly unsuccessful attempt to make the AWOL story go away today, you would also think that they could manage to do one thing that wouldn’t call more attention to another potential cover-up. If you thought that, you’d be wrong:
The White House is facing a new battle with the federal panel investigating 9/11. To mollify the panel chair, former governor Thomas Kean, President George W. Bush last week reversed course and agreed to a two-month extension that is supposed to ensure a final 9/11 report by July. But that might not be enough. Commission sources tell NEWSWEEK that panel members are fed up with what one calls “maddening” restrictions by White House lawyers on their access to key documents. Unless the panel gets to see the docs, the report “will not withstand the laugh test,” a commission official says. The panel is threatening to force a showdown soonâ€”by voting to subpoena the White House.
The four-member team asked to look at 360 PDBs dating back to 1998; White House counsel Alberto Gonzales permitted them to see just 24, arguing that only those that specifically mentioned possible domestic attacks or airplane hijackings were relevant. (One panel member was allowed to read all 360â€”but couldn’t share the contents with colleagues.) The team was permitted to write brief summaries of the PDBs they did read. But White House lawyers objected to some of the wording. The bickering has meant the full panel has yet to be told anything about the PDBsâ€”even while it was conducting interviews with top officials, like last Saturday’s with national-security adviser Condoleezza Rice. The restrictions are especially infuriating, one source notes, because at least some of the PDBs appear to have been selectively shared by the White House two years ago with author Bob Woodward for his book “Bush at War.”
Add this to last Sundays visit with Tim Russert (known around our house as Boy Meets World) and the execrable State of the Union, and you have to wonder (and hope) how it can get any worse.